Of hot tongues, amphibian legs and laaaaaaaaamb (Sooo Pinoy: Inspiring Filipino Food Greenbelt Foodtrip)

Tofu and mayonnaise.
Corned beef in soup.
Hot tongue.
Frog legs.
Fish belly.
Sheep.

Looks like a list off of an episode of Bizarre Foods, no? If you were hungry and I invited you to a meal of the aforementioned items, there’s a good chance you would’ve scurried off to the nearest McDonald’s instead. Right? Right? That, is unless of course you are one of the informed and in the know. Those who don’t judge by what they simply hear. Those who know that the words above translate to manna from heaven. (Naks!)

Just a few hours ago, Chrissie, Mae and Miss Marie (Uhm, may I call you Tita instead po? :P) together with Sooo Pinoy’s Rose and Chef Paulo (What are the odds? Haha!) finished a three-hour long quickie food trip of three Filipino restaurants across Greenbelt. You have to congratulate us, really. It was a feat! Want to know why? Read on my friend. :-)

First off: Sentro 1771.

The group’s strategy was to order two dishes from each restaurant and then move on the next until we finished all the food spots in our list. Our first stop was at Sentro, and we got their bestseller, Sinigang na Corned Beef, and something that I’ve never tried there before, Sizzling Tofu.

Not that much of a looker, but you'd be surprised (the good type) once you get to taste it.

Combining the words "sisig" and "healthy" might be blasphemous for some, but this totally works.

Okay, don’t be a snob and say this is a sell-out. I, too, was surprised of how this fared. The slightest kick of mayo really went well with the fried bean curd. The tofu wasn’t dried out, wasn’t mushy and had that palatable bite. And oo, healthy siya, just because it’s tofu. :-P As for the sinigang na corned beef, I know this is why people go to Sentro, and I’ve had it a couple of times already, so I knew what to expect. True enough, I wasn’t disappointed. The generous chunks of meat and vegetables almost overflowed from the bowl it was served in. The broth was adjusted to our (read: Chef Paulo’s) liking, meaning it can be customized to your own taste. And finally, one word: LITID! The good kind. Haha! I was so happy with this one. Sayang lang I wasn’t able to eat much because we had a few more dishes planned out.

Look at that beauty.

Obviously, we're not talking about the canned one here. Litiiiiiiid!

Next: Krocodile Grille.

Like Sentro, Krocodile Grille was some place familiar. We used to drink and hang-out at their branch at Shangri-La Plaza. That being said, I scolded myself a bit when I realized I was unfamiliar with what the group got: Sizzling Lengua ala Pobre and Frog Legs in Garlic.

Sooo not my beer. This was Chrissie's. Mae had one too. Bakit nga ba hindi ako nagtanong kung may Red Horse?

Cue music: Perfect combination... We fit to a tee...

Where’s Red Horse when you need it… Haaaay. Sub-zero would’ve been perfect with this one but alas the bottles of beer they served were not cold at all. Translation: hindi ako uminom. :-P Anyway, a quick tip: when ordering this, have it stay at the hotplate the longest that you can. Newbies would appreciate this one a bit more on the crunchier side. For tongue veterans like me, the melt in your mouth texture is just right, one that’s worth exploring again and again. And did I already say this goes very well with beer? :-P

The frog legs, on the other hand, totally won the group over. I spent summers in Nueva Ecija where we had freshly caught ones regularly so this wasn’t a big deal to me. Cliche as it sounds, it really does taste like chicken. The legs even look line the poultry counterpart’s mini-thighs. I would’ve preferred these to be naked (unbreaded you green-minded you!) but fortunately they managed to get good flavor on these ones, savory and leaning towards a hint of sweetness. And maaaaaan, those garlic cloves! To. Die. For. I know, I know, it’s not the main component of the dish, but they really perked it up. Aaaand… It’s garlic! O ha. Healthy pa din. :-P

Looks like mini chicken thighs lang, yes?

I would totally have this again if only for that garlic. *drools*

And finally: Fely J’s.

At this point, my brain was already screaming with “Mind your calories! Mind your calories!“. I shut it up by having a change of clothes instead. (My office polo was getting tight na eh! Haha!) Good thing our last stop was at Fely J’s, one of my and Kite’s 2011 discoveries. I know for a fact this final station was going to be sooooo worth the calories.

They don't call it milkfish for nothing. The meat on this one was just that: milky.

I preferred the sourness of this over the one at Sentro. Honest to goodness sampalok asim. Yum

For our two last dishes, we were supposed to get Sinigang na Bangus Belly and Beef Mechado. The servers told us the latter wasn’t available so we got Lamb Kaldereta instead.  Wooot! Never have I been so thankful of the unavailability of beef mechado. Haha! But let’s talk about the sinigang first. The sourness of this one was more potent than the earlier one and I loved it. The fish’s belly was plentiful, which was great, because I’m fond of this so-called “gelatin of the ocean“. And what do you know, it was boneless too. :-D Now back to the star of that afternoon, the lamb. Those who stay away from this type of meat would be easily converted with a bite of this one. As Rose would put it: “Hindi siya ma-anggo.“. In other words, it wasn’t malansa , not game-y. :-) The spice levels of this one was spot on as well. It wasn’t wild, but it definitely had that heat. You’d be happy to know that the meat was very tender as well.

Hooray! Walang beef mechado!

Haaay. I could eat this the entire day.

Whew! Parang hindi lang lent no? Oh well. The things I’d do for experience points. :-)

Sizzling tofu.
Sinigang na corned beef.
Sizzling lengua ala pobre.
Frog legs in garlic.
Sinigang na bangus belly in tamarind.
Lamb kaldereta.

Ok, to be fair, putting it the way I first did at the start of this post may be a little off-putting. Hehe. I hope the words and pictures above make you consider sampling them or even prod you to do a mini-foodtrip of your own, though. Seriously, if the above doesn’t convince you to try out these “not so conventional but can’t get any more Pinoy” dishes, I don’t know what would. ;-)

Postscript:

Chrissie, Mae, Tita Marie, Rose and Chef Paul, ’twas really nice getting to know you guys! Let’s push through with Kalamunda ah! Woot!

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